At its heart, Green Tree Orchards LLC, owned by Fred Rasch, is a family business.
Located in Conklin, Michigan, the orchards at Green Tree mark the fifth generation of growers in the Rasch family, beginning in the early 1900s. “We just keep getting bigger and bigger,” laughs Fred. “Families keep branching off into new orchards once they get big enough, so we’re spread out all around this area.”
Riveridge Produce Marketing works with Fred as a partner, marketing and shipping the orchard’s fruit under the Riveridge label. “Working with Riveridge is great because it brings all the growers together,” says Fred. “There is a high standard that everyone has to live up to.”
Fred’s family also contributes to the growth of Green Tree. His wife, Dee Dee, and daughters, Stephanie and Hannah, play important roles in the day-today operations of the farm. His two sons, Ryan and Jordan, have brought back to the farm what they learned at universities, which will help grow the family business.
“The West Michigan area is unique because of all the young growers we have,” says Fred. “Kids grow up working on the orchards and a lot of them stay on to take the business to a new level.” With the sixthgeneration prepared to carry on the family business, Green Tree Orchards will continue to excel as a highquality fruit provider.
Green Tree has grown since Fred took ownership in 1983. He’s added more than 90 acres to the farm, bringing the total acreage to just under 400. Fred also diversified the produce, dedicating a portion of his acreage each year to producing cherries. “There’s a huge demand in the market for variety,” explains Fred, “so we have to provide for as many different needs as we can.”
Green Tree balances their growth with an eye on ecofriendly, sustainable practices. By implementing new sprayers with enhanced control to minimize chemical use, Fred works to reduce the orchards’ environmental impact. “We don’t want to spray if we don’t have to,” he says, “and with new technology coming out we get to be more and more efficient.” Fred also uses natural pest management techniques.